A/N: Wrote this awhile ago for a prompt that I ended up filling with a different fic. Figured I'd finally post it.
"Come on, Lightyear, keep up!"
"According to park guidelines, hikers are advised to maintain a steady but sedate pace on the trails to avoid exhaustion and keep from frightening the local wildlife."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. But..." Warp paused to grin over his shoulder at his friend. "Last one to the top of this hill's a Bathyosian mud snail!"
"You're on!" Buzz took off after him and they raced up the grassy incline, shoving each other as they vied for the lead until at last they reached the top and collapsed in a laughing heap, with no clear winner.
"Wanna set up camp down there?" Warp asked, after they'd caught their breath. He pointed towards a clearing on the other side of the hill.
"Seems as a good a place as any," Buzz replied, re-adjusting the straps on his backpack. "Just as long as you help out when I try to get this tent up."
"Hey, buddy, have I ever not done my fair share?"
"Do you want me to list every single instance since we met, or just the times today?"
Warp rolled his eyes. "C'mon, let's just get started already."
They skidded down the hill and reached the clearing, where Warp stuck to his word and helped Buzz unpack the tent. Setting it up proved more than he bargained for, however. Every time he looked at the instructions they seemed to make less sense, and every time Buzz got half the tent standing the other half would collapse. Finally they swapped places, with Buzz reading out the instructions and Warp putting it together, and two hours, seven failed attempts, and countless swear words later, they had the tent set up securely.
"I think we've earned ourselves a fat, juicy dinner, don't you, partner?" Warp opened the supply pack. "How about we fry something up and enjoy the fresh air and the sounds of nature, eh?"
Buzz raised an eyebrow. "I didn't realise you were a 'sounds of nature' sort of person."
"Hey, I agreed to go on this trip, didn't I?"
"You wanted to hit the casinos on Mahambas VI."
"And if you'd said yes, we would be sitting on the beach getting a sun tan with a couple of gorgeous girls beside us instead of sleeping on the ground in the middle of nowhere swatting away insects!"
"Or you would've lost all your money by now and be drowning your sorrows at the bar with my credit card that would have somehow fallen into your pocket."
"Exactly!" said Warp. "Good times, right?"
"Just get that fire started and call me when it's time to put the food on." Buzz rose. "I'll be in the tent."
Warp sighed. "Please tell me you're not going to be reading again."
"I've got to review these training manuals..."
"Buzz, you wrote them!"
"All the more reason to memorise their contents." Buzz frowned at him. "You know, it wouldn't hurt for you to go through them yourself..."
Warp laughed. "Lightyear, buddy, I do not go on vacations so I can read training manuals. Why don't you just forget about Star Command and take it easy for once, huh?"
Buzz shook his head. "I'll be in the tent."
Sighing again, Warp set to work gathering fire wood. There wasn't as much as he would've liked and it seemed a bit damp, but he decided to give it a try. He assembled the wood in a pile, rummaged through his pack, and frowned when he couldn't find what he was looking for. "Buzz!" he called.
"Yeah, buddy?" Buzz emerged from the tent, a manual in hand.
"Do you know where my laser's got to?"
Buzz folded his arms. "Why do you need it? There's no dangerous wildlife in this region."
"How else am I gonna start the fire?"
"There's some flint in my pack."
Warp snorted. "Yeah, right, like I'm gonna start a fire with that. Help me find my gun!"
"No need. I know where it is."
Buzz shrugged. "Back on Star Command."
"What? No way, I remember packing it!"
"And I unpacked it."
Warp eyed him sharply. "Why?"
"Because we don't need it. We're supposed to be roughing it, Warp."
"That was your idea, buddy, not mine! Why do you think I brought my stereo and expensive Verdentian shampoos?"
Buzz shook his head. "Actually, you didn't. Those are back on Star Command too."
"Lightyear!" Warp shook a fist at him. "Alright, fine, you want a fire? You do it. Good luck getting those wet sticks to burn with your flint."
"Relax," said Buzz. "We passed some dry scrubland on the way here, remember? I'll gather some tinder for the fire there. Once we get it going I'm sure those branches will burn." Putting his manual down on a log, Buzz set off back the way they'd come.
"Lousy killjoy," Warp muttered after him. "Didn't anyone ever tell him vacations were supposed to be fun?" It was his own fault, he supposed. He could've taken a vacation by himself, but nooo, he had to go with Buzz Lightyear.
He thought of the beaches of Mahambas VI, and imagined laying out on the sand, watching evening fall and listening to the waves lapping at the shore. Now that was relaxing. He knew he should've gone anyway, but when Buzz had said he wasn't interested Warp had somehow lost his own enthusiasm for the trip. Things just weren't fun when his best friend wasn't right there with him.
Warp wondered if that was why the parties on his moon were never as satisfying as he hoped. He could invite as many people as he liked, but it still didn't make up for the tangible absence of a certain thick-headed Space Ranger. There was nothing he could do about it, though. Buzz couldn't know he owned a mansion or moon or any of that stuff. He'd start asking questions about where the money came from, and Warp couldn't let that happen. They'd known each other ten years and Buzz still didn't suspect a thing; it was better to keep it that way. How many more years, though? How long can I keep this up?
He wasn't sure if he was anxious for the emperor to bring him in full-time, or dreading it. Once that happens, there's no going back. He looked at the tent he and Buzz had set up together, and at their packs lying side by side on the ground. All this will be over.
Letting out a long breath, he rummaged inside his pack again and found the flint. Might as well see if I can get a fire started before Buzz gets back. His stomach was longing for the marshmallows he'd stowed away with the supplies. But first, I need some kind of tinder... He looked all around, and his eyes suddenly fell on the training manual lying half-open on the log.
"If you're going to drag me on this vacation, Buzz," he muttered, "then I'm going to make sure you actually spend some of it with me."
Warp stared through his helmet at the remains of the LGMs' city. The streets were strewn with rubble, and fires blazed across the skyline. Most of it was his handiwork. In the distance, the Uni-Mind was being drawn into Zurg's Dreadnought. On the ground below, Buzz lay in a groaning heap beside the remains of his robotic partner, both of them victims of Warp's new cybernetic weaponry. Warp wondered why he'd aimed for the chest instead of shooting Buzz in the head. He knew the Ranger suits well enough to have know the blast wouldn't go through the thick battle armour.
He sighed, gazing one more time at the crimson landscape. Flames crackled and glowed against the night. For one brief moment, he found himself craving marshmallows. Warp quickly shook the absurd thought away and took off into the sky, refusing to spare another glance at the man staggering to his feet far beneath him.
That life was over now.